London, Jan 13: Traces of cancer and psychiatric drugs have been found in Britain"s tap water, a report reveals. The report, commissioned by the drinking water watchdog in the country, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), reveals that pharmaceuticals are finding their way into the water supply despite extensive purification treatments used by water companies.
During the tests on drinking water, trace levels of bleomycin, a cancer chemotherapy drug, and diazepam, a sedative have been found. While the levels are considered too low to pose a direct risk to health, doctors have expressed concern about exposing pregnant women to drugs that could harm an unborn child.
The report, compiled for the DWI by the consultants Watts and Crane Associates, recommends that drinking water should be monitored for hazardous drugs. "The observed concentrations of pharmaceuticals in raw waste water indicate that the major source of pharmaceuticals to the environment is via sewage treatment works effluent," the Telegraph quoted the report, as stating.
"Drinking water treatment works use a wider and technically more advanced range of processes, but again these are not specifically designed to remove pharmaceuticals and several compounds have been reported in drinking water.
"Even in the worst-case situation, there is no significant risk to health from the intake of pharmaceuticals via drinking water," the report added.
Sue Pennison, from the DWI, said: "The recommendations are now being considered and this may include conducting testing on drinking water."